Special issue of Press/Politics on changing business of journalism

The October issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics is now available online.

It includes a special section called “comparative perspectives on the changing business of journalism and its implications for democracy” edited by myself, David Levy from the Reuters Institute, and Frank Esser from IPMZ at Zurich.

In addition to the programmatic introduction written by us as editors of the special section, where we note that while comparative journalism research has made great strides in recent years our empirical understanding of the institutional and systemic preconditions of journalism may not have advanced as quickly as either (a) conditions on the ground have changed or (b) other areas of research like those oriented towards news content, media use, or journalistic role-conceptions and practices. We call for more institutionally- and system-oriented comparative, mixed-methods, empirical work.

In the three articles included in the special section, I write about structural changes in Western media systems, Vaclav Stetka and Henrik Ornebring writes about the preconditions for investigative journalism in Central and Eastern Europe, and Edda Humprecht and Florin Buchel writes about similarities and differences in online news reporting in different countries.

We were very happy that Silvio Waisbord (the IJPP editor) entrusted us with his journal and it was a very good experience to work with David and Frank on the issue. I haven’t had time to read the other articles in the issue yet, but I’m looking forward in particular to Rita Figueiras and Nelson Ribeiro’s article on Angolan investments in Portuguese media, a very interesting topic.

It is, however, also clear that while the three articles we ended up publishing are all very interesting, there continues to be a real dearth of actual empirical and genuinely international cross-country comparative research that focus on the institutional and systemic preconditions that journalism operates under. This is, in my view, a major void and one journalism studies need to confront.

Comparing Media Systems and the debate it has sparked over the last decade is a major advance, but much more work, especially actual comparative, original, empirical work–including work that moves beyond content, journalistic role conceptions, and citizens’ media use–needs to be done.

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